LaMelo Ball (born August 22, 2001) is an American basketball player who attends Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, California. A junior point guard, he has repeatedly drawn attention from national sports media. Ball verbally committed to play basketball for UCLA at age 13. He is the younger brother of current NBA player Lonzo Ball.
In his first season at Chino Hills, Ball won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) state championship with his two brothers and was recognized as one of the top freshmen in the country. As a sophomore, Ball made headlines after he made a half-court shot in December 2016 and returned to prominence following a 92-point game vs. Los Osos High School in February 2017. He was also a focal point in a well attended Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) game against top high school recruit Zion Williamson. Ball is rated a five-star recruit by multiple recruiting services.
Ball is known as an exceptionally popular but polarizing basketball figure and has been called a celebrity. He has maintained a strong presence in social media, most notably with over 2.4 million followers on Instagram. He is considered one of the most famous basketball players for his age as well, with a signature shoe and a role on the Facebook reality show Ball in the Family. However, he has been criticized as a basketball player for being a poor defender and cherry picking.
Early life Edit
Ball was born to LaVar and Tina Ball, who are both former college basketball players. LaVar, who stands 6-foot-6 (1.98 m), competed with Washington State and then Cal State Los Angeles. Tina, who stands 6-feet (1.8 m), also played with the latter school. Later on, LaVar played professional American football as a tight end for the London Monarchs of the World League of American Football after being loaned from the New York Jets.
Ball began playing basketball at age four with his brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo. Growing up, the trio played on teams coached by their father, including Big Ballers VXT of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), where they would continue playing into high school. During his childhood, Ball mainly played against opponents several years older than him. In a high school summer league game, facing players of ages 16 and 17, he scored 29 points. USA Today High School Sports compared Ball's ability to "dominate" older competition as reminiscent of LeBron James. By age 13, he stood 5-foot-7 (1.7 m).
Ball verbally committed to play college basketball for UCLA at the age of 13, before starting high school. He became the third of his brothers to do so. Ball, who was also recruited by Virginia and Washington State, said that UCLA was his "dream school.
High school career Edit
In June 2015, Ball joined Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, California, where he would play basketball under head coach Steve Baik. Also on the team, nicknamed the Huskies, were brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo, as well as cousin Andre Ball. In his debut on June 16, LaMelo scored 27 points with five three-pointers as a starter against John Muir High School. On June 27, Ball recorded 20 points vs. Centennial High School. On November 30, Ball scored 20 points in a 131–42 win over San Bernardino High School.
In March 2016, Chino Hills won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section Open Division championship against Sierra Canyon School, with Ball scoring 26 points and shooting 11-for-17 from the field. Later that month, the Huskies qualified for the state championship as the top ranked team in the nation. On March 27, Ball had 14 points and five assists to propel Chino Hills to the title victory over De La Salle High School. The team closed the season with a perfect 35–0 record. MaxPreps.com named Ball, along with teammate Onyeka Okongwu, Co-Freshman of the Year. Ball, who averaged 16.4 points and 3.8 assists, also made the MaxPreps Boys' Basketball Freshman All-American First Team.
Top Scoring Games Since 2000
|Cedrick Hensley||Heritage Christian (TX)||2001||101|
|Tigran Grigorian||Mesrobian (CA)||2003||100|
|Dajuan Wagner||Camden (NJ)||2001||100|
|LaMelo Ball||Chino Hills (CA)||2017||92|
|Henry Uhegwu||Gulf Shores (TX)||2002||92|
For Ball's sophomore season, Chino Hills lost top player Lonzo Ball and coach Steve Baik. On November 30, 2016, Ball recorded 31 points against Rancho Christian High School while LiAngelo scored 72. By December, LaMelo was averaging more than 30 points per game for the Huskies. In late December, Ball made a half-court shot only a few seconds into a game. The shot received widespread media coverage, including from ESPN, CBS Sports, and Sports Illustrated.Stephen Curry commented on the shot, saying, "That was some confidence right there. The fact that he made it, I wonder if he’s done it before and missed it. It's the highlight-driven generation, so that right there was pretty unbelievable, though. For him to call his shot like Babe Ruth and knock it down and act like nothing happened." On January 10, 2017, Ball scored a team-high 35 points, leading Chino Hills to its 52nd straight win. Ball lost his first high school game on February 5, when Oak Hill Academy ended the Huskies' 60-game winning streak. In his next game, on February 7, he scored 92 points in a 146–123 victory over Los Osos High School, while LiAngelo was sidelined with an ankle injury. LaMelo recorded 63 points in the second half alone, and he made 37 of 61 shots in the entire game. It was the second best scoring performance in California high school basketball history. Ball used the game to draw attention towards Chino Hills student Alexis Anderson, who was diagnosed with a rare heart condition.
In late July 2017, Ball participated with his AAU team, Big Ballers Brand, at the Adidas Summer Championships at Cashman Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. He led the event in scoring, posting over 35 points in back-to-back games. On July 27, Ball starred in a highly anticipated AAU game vs. Zion Williamson and SC Supreme. Although LaMelo scored 31 points, SC Supreme emerged victorious, behind Williamson's 28 points. According to Adidas, up to 4,000 people, including Andrew Wiggins, Damian Lillard, and multiple other NBA players, were in attendance. LeBron James reportedly planned on sitting courtside for the game but turned away for security reasons. A live stream from Ballislife.comreceived about 822,000 views. The game was extensively covered by the media, with an ESPN feature story calling Big Ballers Brand's AAU campaign "The LaVar Ball show."
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||Commit date|
|Chino Hills, CA||Chino Hills (CA)||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)||160 lb (73 kg)||Jul 31, 2015|
|Scout: Rivals: 247Sports: ESPN:|
|Overall recruiting rankings:|
Player profile Edit
Standing 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m), Ball has been described as a relatively tall point guard with a long wingspan. Earlier in his high school career, he was primarily considered a volume shooter. Currently, however, he is known to be a proficient three-point shooter while also having the ability to make inside shots. Ball frequently attempts long three-pointers, which has drawn comparisons to Stephen Curry.
Ball has been criticized for cherry picking, as he often waits near half court to get an open shot on his next possession instead of trying to prevent the opponent from scoring. After Ball's 92-point game, Charles Barkley said, "The kid waited at the other end of the court and just every time the other team shot the ball. They just threw to him at half-court or three-quarters of the court. I have a serious problem with that, to be honest with you." LaMelo has sometimes been described as a ball hog as well
Off the court Edit
In his high school basketball career, Ball has been regularly featured by national sports media and has also gained significant popularity on social media. On August 22, 2017, his 16th birthday, USA Today High School Sports labeled him as possibly "the most famous 16-year-old basketball star ever." An ESPN article called Ball a "legitimate celebrity" but tagged him as "the most hated high school athlete of all time." Eric Bossi of Rivals.com said, "The LaMelo Ball phenomenon is the closest thing to Justin Bieber on a basketball court," citing both individuals' polarizing nature. LaMelo's fame and divisiveness has been attributed to the popularity of family, primarily his father LaVar. As of September 2017, Ball has 2.4 million followers on Instagram, putting him ahead of both Adidas Basketball and Under Armour Basketball. He is really good friends with Shareef O'Neal, the son of Shaquille O'Neal.
Public image EditOn June 26, 2017, LaMelo, along with Lonzo and LaVar, appeared on a segment of WWE Raw. After his father ripped off his shirt in a confrontation with The Miz on the show, LaMelo yelled, "Beat that n---a ass!" Following the family's appearance, WWE commented on Ball's words in a statement: "The inappropriate language used by a guest during the 'Miz TV' segment was not scripted nor reflects WWE's values." A YouTube clip featuring the incident, titled "LaMelo Ball says 'Beat That N---a ass' live on WWE monday night raw!," has received over 800,000 views as of September 2017.
For LaMelo's 16th birthday, LaVar bought him a Lamborghini. The younger Ball first publicized his new car in a promotional video for his signature MB1 shoes, and SLAM Magazine confirmed that LaMelo, in fact, owned it. The purchase of the car raised questions about its effect on LaMelo's work ethic and sparked debate on social media. Kevin Durant tweeted, "Young Melo with the Lambo. Stop playin wit shorty, he really out here," and also argued with a Twitter user critical of the birthday present.
Ball's 16th birthday party received considerable media coverage. A YouTube video posted by ESPN on September 3, 2017, showing LaMelo arriving to the party in his Lamborghini, received more than 150,000 views in the following week. Lonzo Ball made headlines after rapping at his brother's party, with ESPN commenting that he has "decent bars, but it's clear he could use some lessons." Lonzo drew attention once again on September 8, when he released a rap single titled "Melo Ball 1" as a tribute to LaMelo.
Business interests Edit
Big Baller Brand Edit
In April 2016, the Ball family announced the launch of a sports apparel brand called Big Baller Brand. The brand was inspired by LaMelo and his brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo. On August 31, 2017, it announced the release of a signature shoe for LaMelo, called the Melo Ball 1 (MB1), which will be available in late 2017. According to Big Baller Brand, the shoe will be exceptionally light upon a request by Ball himself. The MB1 is currently priced at $395.
The announcement made LaMelo the first high schooler with a signature shoe but also raised questions about his eligibility to play in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). A statement by NCAA spokesperson Emily James said, "Generally speaking, a college athlete or prospect paid for use of their athletics reputation or ability risks their future eligibility in that sport. This includes profiting from the sale of items bearing the young person's name. NCAA rules, however, do allow prospects to promote commercial products prior to enrollment, provided it is not for pay." Ball's father, however, responded by saying, "NCAA ain't going to tell me s---" and suggesting that LaMelo could possibly skip college for that reason.
Reality television Edit
In early July 2017, Deadline.com reported the development of a Facebook reality show that would feature the Ball family. It would be a part of a larger project for Facebook to enter the video business. Weeks later, it was announced that the show, called Ball in the Family, would exclusively air on the social media website on August 31, with the following episodes airing every Sunday, starting on September 10. It was produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, which also helped create the reality TV series Keeping Up with the Kardashians on E! and Real World on MTV. LaVar has been considered the main focus of the show, with LaMelo and his brothers taking supporting role.